At the start of the 2022 schooling year, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) announced that it will pilot the new General Education Certificate (GEC) at approximately 300 South African schools.
The department has confirmed that the certificate has been piloted in 268 schools nationally and in 2023 it will be expanded to all districts.
According to Basic Education, the introduction of the GEC would allow Grade 9 learners to choose alternative options for finishing high school that focus on technical, vocational, and occupational skills.
Another pilot project that has taken off is that of mother-tongue teaching from grades 4 to 12. DBE Minister Angie Motshekga has shared that there has been positive progress so far on this project.
Experts have also shared through different studies that teaching in the mother tongue improves performance and understanding.
In an interview, Mhlanga said:
The issue of languages in schools has been an issue that has been on the agenda for some time.
The department has added approximately four more languages at a second language level, this includes Khoi, San, and other Nam languages.
It has been reported that the proposed policy shift to promote mother-tongue teaching and learning in schools will soon spread to other provinces and the department has committed that it will report on the progress in these provinces.
This then means that more indigenous language teachers will be needed. Basic Education has introduced a bursary for teaching prospective students, making a condition for these aspiring teachers to consider taking African languages, said Mhlanga.